First edition of Newton’s Principia to go under the hammer for $1 million

Issac Newton’s work stands as an inspiration for many budding scientists even today. In an attempt to pass on an exclusive piece of his great work forward, a first edition copy of Newton’s acclaimed mathematics text – The Principia is all set to be auctioned this month for a record-breaking price of $ 1 million (or more)!

The renowned text is an extremely rare continental edition copy, known to be designed especially for Europeans. Out of the 400 copies of Principia’s first edition, only about 20 % form part of these aforesaid continental versions. The inception of the iconic mathematical text was ensued by Newton’s beloved comrade – Halley (he astronomer best known for the comet named after him), who encouraged him to pen down his theories in the form of a textbook (and by even paying to get it printed). While two copies of the book are retained by the Royal Society, this rare copy in Latin titled as Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica (Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy) will be auctioned later this month at the renowned auction house- Christie’s.

For containing some of Newton’s groundbreaking theories in areas such as gravity and the forces of motion, the Principia is often looked up to as a scientific benchmark and rightly so! Earlier an English version of the book which was said to have been presented to King James II was sold for more than $2.5m in 2013, with its list price being only $600,000. We wonder what price this rare Principia copy would eventually fetch!


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